Floss. Not the teeth kind...

Oh. Sigh. Most days are fleeting because I get to actually make something. And some days? They're spent organizing. That yarn book I made? I use it all the time. So I'm hoping that what I spent a solid amount of time doing today will pay off in the end.

I've been doing a bit of embroidering lately, something my mother taught me how to do when I was young - maybe 10-ish? I've been using this floss to do some basic embroidery for the notebook style holders, and pillows I've been making (more on those later), and sewing in my tags into scarves and what not.

Except this is how I've been storing my floss.

Yikes, right? It's been in that bag since I was 10 - double yikes. Today I wanted to start another pillow, but when I reached for my "bag o' fun", I couldn't figure out how to get a certain color thread out. [Explitve here.] It's essentially a big Rat King, as you can see above, and although I can untangle everything without cutting, I really needed to do something to reduce the amount of time that takes.

What's funny, is that I had two fixes that I implemented when I was 11 or so (it took me a year to realize that this rat king was going to happen with my new precious floss).

First was the tee solution. My dad is an avid golfer and I'm pretty sure I stole a bunch of his old tees:

Except that there was no where to attach the other end and they would ultimately unravel. The other solution was cardboard, except it was missing the crucial cut in the cardboard to hold the loose end. Yes, both are original solutions from 20 years ago. I was so close. Oy.

I was at Michael's today and found a handy little solution (I really didn't feel like making my own) for a couple of bucks. Winder + cards:

Don't you worry, I'll be making cardboard cards when I run out of those. It's a little ridiculous to be paying for some plastic thing that won't degrade, and cardboard is sturdy enough to reuse in the future. I was just in a rush to get things organized. (Boo, I know.)

Oh, just looking at that picture makes me feel so much better, no?

DIY Bobbin Winder!

I've currently become the biggest cheap-ass in the world. Well, okay, I've always been a cheap-ass when it comes to some things, but now it's most things.

When I first started weaving after college, I didn't splurge on weaving supplies because I assumed it would just be something that I did "here and there". I bought my loom about 6 years ago and never bought myself a bobbin winder*. Yes, I will allow you to re-read that sentence and I will conveniently retype it for you too: I never bought a bobbin winder. 

You might be asking, "How did you wind your bobbins? The other half - the life line, if you will - of everything you weave?" Ah, yes. Excellent question, young padawan. Up until a month ago, I was using my portable drill, with a long shafted drill bit. (My dad gave me the idea. He's so smart.) The set up looked something like this:

But then my drill battery died and I'm too cheap to buy a new one and I also could take this chance to talk about how I really hate rechargeable work tools, but I'll save that for another day. SO. I was walking around at the Chicken Barn (a Maine treasure) last month and found this really awesome hand drill for $2. Heck yeah. And it works perfectly. Usually old tools don't work at all, am I right? And it's gorgeous, right?

This is where it gets a bit blasphemous, for some of you antique-types. I sawed off the top and bottom bit of the wooden side grip, making flats. 

Then I inserted the drill bit I had from before - $2 from the hardware store - and attached the set up to my work table with a C clamp I already owned - $6 from the hardware store - and VOILA! I had a $10 bobbin winder. 

Anyway, a real beautiful $140 Swedish bobbin winder might be somewhere in my future, but for now I'm doing just fine with my homemade one. 

*For those of you who don't know what a bobbin winder is, it's usually a geared (as shown in the first picture above) or belted wheel system that allows you to spool fiber to a shaft of plastic or paper. The wound bobbin is what you eventually weave with, the thing that creates the other half of the woven structure. Yes, it is a very important part of the process.